I Rest My Case

Jun 16, 2017

"The plaintiff wears pinstripe. The defendant wears herringbone. The future of boxy luggage is at stake." This excerpt comes from the back of one of our new paperback legal thrillers: The Suit Case. Every answer in this game is a word or phrase ending in the word "case."

Heard on Annabelle Gurwitch: 'Don't Treat Me Like Family'

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Hey, Jonathan. Today on ASK ME ANOTHER, we have a guest who's written a book about families. Family trivia speed round - what restaurant's tagline is when you're here, you're family?

JONATHAN COULTON: That is Olive Garden.

EISENBERG: Correct. Billy, Dolly, Jeffy and P.J. are kids in what newspaper comic?

COULTON: "Family Circus."

EISENBERG: That's right. And what's traditionally said at the beginning of a family's Thanksgiving dinner?

COULTON: Nana, that's racist.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: From NPR and WNYC, coming to you from The Bell House in beautiful Brooklyn, N.Y., York, it's NPR's hour of puzzles, word games and trivia, ASK ME ANOTHER. I'm Jonathan Coulton. And now here's your host, Ophira Eisenberg.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Thank you, Jonathan. We've got a great show for you. Four brilliant contestants are backstage, trading fidget spinners, waiting to play our nerdy games. And our special guest is an actor and an author, Annabelle Gurwitch, who wrote a book called "Wherever You Go, There They Are." It's about her cast of epically dysfunctional relatives, including bootleggers, gamblers and philanderers or, as they're called in Brooklyn, distillers, street musicians and polyamorists.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: But enough about my improv class.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Our first two contestants will play a litigious word game, Objection Overruled. Let's meet them. First up, Hannah Weitzman on buzzer number one.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: You are one of three non-German speakers at your office.

HANNAH WEITZMAN: I am.

EISENBERG: Willkommen.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: That means welcome.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Your opponent is Robbie Chernow on buzzer number two.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: You told us that you are, quote, "frictionally unemployed."

ROBBIE CHERNOW: That is correct.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Welcome.

CHERNOW: Thank you very much.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Hannah and Rob, the first of you who wins two of our games will move on to our final round at the end of the show. So this is a word game where Jonathan and I are going to pitch our new paperback book series of legal thrillers. The title of each book is a word or phrase that ends with the word case. So we'll read you the blurb. And you just give us the title.

COULTON: For example, if I said, the plaintiff wears pinstripe, the defendant wears herringbone and the future of boxy luggage is at stake, you would answer The Suit Case.

EISENBERG: Let's do it. Here we go. Feathers and memory foam collide in this hypoallergenic thrill ride when a key piece of neck-supporting evidence is covered up.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Robbie.

CHERNOW: Pillow Case.

EISENBERG: That is correct. Yeah.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: It was a real snore.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: A heart-pounding page-turner centered on a precedent-setting defamation case, Pistachio v. Pecan. And the question is, is anyone here in their right mind?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Hannah.

WEITZMAN: Nut Case.

COULTON: That's right.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: By the way, we are aware that pistachios and pecans are technically drupe seeds. So, listeners...

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: ...Please stop trolling us on Tinder.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: After several appeals, poet E. E. Cummings goes to the highest court in the land to overturn the government's mandate to capitalize his own name.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Robbie.

CHERNOW: Upper Case or Lower Case. Lower Case.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Lower Case. That's correct, yeah.

(LAUGHTER, APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: He would have hated autocorrect for that reason.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: In a story that's already won an Oscar, a Tony and a Webby, a family is torn apart over custody of an award-statue display cabinet.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Robbie.

CHERNOW: Trophy Case.

COULTON: That's right.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Does one display a Webby?

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: I don't know. Is there even a real trophy?

EISENBERG: There is, yeah.

COULTON: It's not just a digital trophy that you get emailed? And you print it out if you want?

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Tensions escalate when the courthouse elevator goes out of order. Can three out-of-shape attorneys climb 19 flights to file a legal brief before the deadline?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Robbie.

CHERNOW: Stair Case.

EISENBERG: That's right.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: One of them was always one step ahead (laughter).

COULTON: Let your imagination take flight. I just made that up.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: That's good. That's good. Yeah, I like it.

COULTON: It's a good story.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: This is your last clue. Two military experts serving in an embassy set diplomacy aside and sue each other. The dispute - who gets to keep this thin, French-sounding, document-holding case.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Hannah.

WEITZMAN: Attache Case?

COULTON: Correct.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: And we were discussing the difference between a briefcase and an attache case, right, Art?

ART CHUNG: We were discussing it.

EISENBERG: And what is the difference?

CHUNG: Turns out an attache case splits exactly in half, and both sides are about equal depth, where a briefcase - there's clearly a container side and a lid side. You're welcome.

EISENBERG: Yeah, very good.

CHERNOW: Good to know.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Puzzle guru Art Chung, how did our contestants do?

CHUNG: Robbie, congratulations. You're one step closer to the final round.

(APPLAUSE) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.